Tadawul: Petchems, banks surge again on strong volume
Saudi Arabia’s stock market gained strongly for a second straight day as oil prices rebounded from the day’s lows, reinforcing a growing perception among investors that they have found a floor. Brent crude fell early on Tuesday after an industry report said US crude stocks rose by the most in two decades last week. But it had largely recovered and traded above $49 per barrel by the time the Saudi bourse closed. The main Saudi stock index jumped 2.6 percent to 8,913 points and trading volume reached its highest level since last May. T he index faces chart resistance at its late December peak of 8,949 points; any break would point up to at least resistance on the 100-day average, now at 9,477 points. Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries, the country’s biggest listed firm, surged 5.1 percent while its subsidiary Yanbu National Petrochemical Co. (Yansab) rose its daily 10 percent limit.
Banks also remained strong and Samba Financial Group surged 8.9 percent. Two brokerages, EFG Hermes and Global, identified the stock this week as offering good value and being well positioned for the expected US interest rate increase. Telecommunications operator Zain Saudi gained 5.6 percent to SR7.40 after its Kuwaiti parent Zain said it had appointed advisers to study the potential sale of its transmitter towers in some of the eight markets in which it operates.
Separately, Zain Saudi said it had received regulatory approval to cut its capital for a second time, a move common in Saudi Arabia to offset accumulated losses. Albilad Capital rated Zain Saudi “overweight” on Tuesday with a fair value of SR8.50 . Most other Gulf markets edged up. Kuwait’s index added 0.3 percent as Zain climbed 1.9 percent after announcing the potential sale of towers. Shares in Gulf Bank jumped 3.4 percent after it reported a 10.7 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 8.97 million dinars ($30.4 million), according to Reuters calculations, and said it had recovered from the global financial crisis.
Oman’s bourse slipped 0.1 percent, but Bank Dhofar, the third-largest lender in the sultanate by assets, gained 1.7 percent after its board proposed a 10 percent cash dividend for 2014 plus a 10 percent bonus share issue.
Dubai edged up 0.4 percent on thin news flow, while Abu Dhabi’s benchmark fell 0.3 percent, despite a strong performance by Union National Bank which surged 5.8 percent. The lender posted a 42 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday, broadly in line with analysts’ estimates. The bank also said its board of directors proposed a cash dividend of 0.25 dirham per share for 2014. That compared with a cash payout of 0.14 dirham for the previous year, according to Thomson Reuters data. Egypt’s index EGX30 edged down 0.8 percent after hitting a fresh 6-1/2 closing high of 9,947 points on Tuesday. Shares in EFG Hermes tumbled 6.3 percent after it said a subsidiary would sell up to 37 million shares in it, representing a stake of about 6.5 percent, to institutional investors.